HOME > 取材 > 【Distillery Visit】Ardnahoe Distillery: Hunter Laing’s long-awaited own distillery on Islay

【Distillery Visit】Ardnahoe Distillery: Hunter Laing’s long-awaited own distillery on Islay

2024.06.10 / 最終更新日:2024.06.12

Perched atop a hill, Ardnahoe Distillery, named after the Scottish Gaelic term for ‘Height of the Hollow’, was founded in 2018 by renowned Scotch whisky bottler Hunter Laing, joining the prestigious Islay distillery family.

Ardnahoe whisky’s distinct character is shaped by its extreme weather, breathtaking vistas of Islay and Jura islands, and the pure water of Loch Ardnahoe.

After a five-year wait, Ardnahoe unveiled their highly anticipated whisky, “The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release”, a momentous occasion for whisky enthusiasts worldwide.

For an in-depth look at Ardnahoe’s experiences, read this article.

Check out other articles on Ardnahoe Distillery!

About Ardnahoe Distillery

Built by the whisky legends: Laing Family and Jim McEwan

Ardnahoe Distillery was established in 2018 by the Laing family, the owners of the renowned independent bottling company Hunter Laing. As this massive three-generation family business sought to produce its own whisky from scratch, they finally chose Islay to build one from love and respect for peated whiskies. Upon designing the distillery, Stewart Laing and his sons, Andrew and Scott, brought Islay Scotch whisky legend Jim McEwan back from retirement.

Jim and Ardnahoe’s Distillery Manager Fraser Hughes have worked together and distilled their very first spirit in October 2018.

Five years since then, their very first whisky was released on the 10th of May 2024.

Laing Family, world-famous bottlers and founder of the Ardnahoe Distillery

Promotion Video

For a quick overview of the Ardnahoe Distillery, check out their promotion video (the link is cited from the Arnahoe Distillery YouTube channel ).

Basic Information

Distillery Ardnahoe Distillery
Owner Hunter Laing Holdings Limited
Port Askaig, Islay PA46 7RN
Year of Establishment 2018
Website Ardnahoe Distillery


Ardnahoe Distillery is a 20-minute car ride from Bowmore. While visitor parking is available, hiring a taxi may be more enjoyable than driving up the bumpy one-way road. This way, you can fully enjoy your time and experience at the distillery.

The way up the hill gives you a fantastic view overlooking the Jura island on the opposite shore.

Jura on the far opposite shore

Ardnahoe Distillery’s Products

Single Malt

Ardnahoe Distillery recently released their very first single malt whisky, “The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release.”

The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release combines Ex-Oloroso and Ex-Bourbon casks matured for five years. Since it is a non-chillfiltered and non-coloured bottle, you get to experience Ardnahoe’s natural flavour of smooth and sweet taste with pleasant peat smoke on the nose.

Ardnahoe’s first release, Inaugural Release

For more information, click here.

Distillery Tours

The Spirit Of Ardnahoe

About  Explore the creation of Ardnahoe’s Spirit, where modern design works in perfect harmony with traditional techniques & equipment. Hear our story so far and take in the spectacular surroundings. End your tour in our bespoke dramming area with a 15ml sample and a glass to take home.
Duration 45 mins
Price £12 
Opening hours Open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Saturday
Booking Make sure to book beforehand from here

Distillery Visit

Visitor centre and cafe

As you enter the building, you are greeted by an abundance of Ardnahoe merchandise in the distillery’s shop section. You can find everything from t-shirts to artwork by local artists, along with a wide selection of Hunter Laign whiskies to choose from.

Ardnahoe Distillery shop

Upon entering the café section, a wide-open window offers a breathtaking view of Jura Island across the shore.

You can indulge in coffee, tea, or even a dram of whisky while immersing yourself in the stunning scenery.

Because this area was initially designed to be a malting floor, it is connected to the production side of the distillery with ventilation, bringing varieties of unique scents from the whisky production process.

The cafe and bar area offers small pastries and drinks with a magnificent view

Water source

Water used in Ardnahoe whisky production is taken from Loch Ardnahoe, allegedly the deepest lake on Islay. Its abundant, clean, soft water was one of the biggest reasons this location was chosen to build the distillery.

Peated malt barley and milling

Ardnahoe sources their barley from all over Scotland, emphasising quality rather than sticking to one specific farm or type of barley. Then, grains are taken to Port Ellen Maltings, where they malt the barley using Islay peat for the classic smoky Islay malt flavour. Ardnahoe uses rather floral peat to get 40-45ppm barley for their whisky, resulting in very subtle peatiness.

Barley and peat construct the core of the Ardnahoe spirit

Ardnahoe uses the famous Vickers Bobby Mill, known for its legendary durability and rareness.

However, you can find three of them on Islay: Ardbeg Distillery, Bruichladdich Distillery, and Ardnahoe Distillery. They mill it to a grists of 65% grits, 25% husk and 10% flour, checking and adjusting the mill manually as they use an over 100-year-old mill without any computer or control panel.

More than 100 years old Vickers Bobby Mill


Ardnahoe uses a 2.5-tonne capacity copper-domed semi-Lauter mash tun made by LH Stainless Ltd. Unlike the Bobby mill, this whisky-making equipment is brand new custom and made for Ardnahoe. Their spirit becomes very clean and fruity by having copper contact at this early stage of the process and using soft water from Loch Ardnahoe.

Copper-domed mash tun still looking brand new


Made by JB Vats in Dufftown, four traditional Oregon Pine washbacks are bespoke and constructed to create a very habitable environment for yeast development, enhancing their fruity spirits. Fermentation time is 72 hours on average, right around the standard Scotch whisky’s average duration.

Ardnahoe’s wort has a combination of strong fruity, tangy smell and sweet softness, which get complimented well by the peat smoke.

Traditional wooden washbacks create fruitier whiskies


Upon entering the distillation room, you will see the stunning scenery of Jura and the ocean, which welcomes you right away. They sit right behind two stills manufactured by the Speyside Copperworks. In terms of capacity, wash still has 13,000 litres, and spirit still has 11,000 litres, both shaped like a lantern, allowing plenty of reflux inside the stills. Ardnahoe decides cutting based on nose and water test.

Pot stills and Jura Island in the background

On top of that, Ardnahoe is famous for having the longest lyne arm length in Scotland, 7.5m long.

This grants the vapour an abundance of copper contact, resulting in a lighter, fruitier spirit. On the other hand, a slightly descending arm makes it easier for the liquid to flow by gravity, which usually tends to make the spirit heavier and oilier. This intricate production process creates depth and complexity in the Ardnahoe whisky.

Longest Lyne arm in Scotch distilleries

W0rm tub

Ardnahoe is one of the 20 Scotch whisky distilleries still employing worm tubs as condensers.

Worm tub is the classic method for condensing the distilled vapour back into liquid. It works by submerging a copper tube coil in the water tub.

Nearly 3m tall worm tub has 77m long copper coil inside

As the vapour passes through this copper tube, it cools down slowly, returning to liquid. However, this method is often shunned due to its slower and inefficient procedure compared to the lately popular shell & tube method. However, this slower condensation constructs oilier whisky with more texture.

Mirror to look inside of the worm tub


The core range from Ardnahoe mainly consists of Bourbon and Sherry cask matured whiskies, whose casks are sourced freshly from Kentucky and Spain.

A proportion of their whiskies are being matured on Islay in their atmospheric dunnage warehouse, and these whiskies are expected to pick up Islay’s unique terroir.

Warehouse visit is not part of the tour


The tour will wrap up with the tasting of Ardnahoe whisky. We were treated by single cask sample of Ardnahoe whisky when visited (23rd March 2024). We expect this tasting to offer larger varieties of whiskies as Ardnahoe starts developing its whisky ranges.

Single cask Ardnahoe whisky was served at the tasting session

At Last

Despite its youth, Ardnahoe whisky is met with high expectations as many whisky fans celebrate the emergence of the newest Islay whisky family. With its impressive distillery and whisky-making equipment, Ardnahoe demonstrates immense potential and flexibility, positioning itself to compete against other major players on Islay.

By expanding its fan base with a distinctive whisky created with unwavering attention to detail, the story of Ardnahoe Distillery is just beginning.

Check out other articles on Ardnahoe Distillery!